Saturday, July 1, 2017

150 Reasons Why I Love Canada

Hello my dear friends!

It would not be Canadian of me if I did not join in on all the celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday! So, I decided to share my list of 150 things I love about Canada. Enjoy!

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1. Diplomatic
2. Peaceful

3. Accepting
4. Beautiful
5. Caring
6. Democratic
7. Multicultural
8. Young
9. Open minded
10. Active
11. Tolerant
12. Sympathetic
13. Respectful
14. Supportive
15. Full of opportunities
16. Politically correct
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17. Creative
18. Innovative
19. Constantly growing
20. Crazy unpredictable weather
21. Loved around the world
22. Lakes
23. Forests
24. Rockies

25. Prairies
26. Maple Trees
27. Cottage (a little birdie reminded me about this beautiful way to get away from it all!)
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28. Eh!
29. Canadian Flag
30. Justin Trudeau (the hottest PM there is)
31. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (the trend setter)
32. Pierre Trudeau (the father of the hottest PM there is)
33. Margaret Trudeau (the mother of the hottest PM there is and I promise we are done with Trudeau name for now)
34. Peter Mansbridge (did you know that he lent his voice to Peter Moosbridge in Zootopia; Happy retirement Peter!)
35. Hockey
36. Blackberry (yes, I used to call it berry as well, just gave it up and already miss it)
37. Zipper
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38. Penicillin
39. Wonderbra (a BIG THANK YOU Canada!!!!!)
40. Telephone
41. Light bulb
42. Pacemaker
43. Electric wheelchair
44. Canadarm
45. Java (not coffee people)
46. Alkaline battery
47. Paint roller
48. Radio-voice transmission
49. Instant replay
50. Goalie mask
51. Basketball
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52. Walkie talkie
53. Snowblower
54. Greenpeace (yes, it was born in Vancouver, Canada)
55. Canadian Tire (it's not just tires!)
56. Tim Hortons
57. Beavertails
58. Poutine
59. Nanaimo bar
60. Montreal smoked meat (although I do not eat this stuff any longer, it was a tasty treat)
61. Maple Syrup (indigenous have created this delicious treat with the help of Mother Nature)
62. Butter tarts (YUMMMMMMMMMM!)
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63. Hawaiian pizza
64. Rick Hansen (amazing human power!)
65. Chris Hadfield (homegrown "David Bowie in space")
66. Jenny Sidie (one of our newest astronauts)
67. Rachel McAdams (hot Canadian "commodity")
68. Evangeline Lily
69. Kim Cattrall (dear Samantha Fox....)
70. Nina Dobrev (although not born in Canada..... oh forget it, she is our girl!)
71. Linda Evangelista (my favorite model)
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72. Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix girl; perhaps best know as)
73. Sandra Oh (Ottawa girl!)
74. Ellen Page (Juno herself and X-Men participant)
75. Pamela Anderson (it's not just about Baywatch)
76. Celine Dion (I Drove All Niiiiiiight)
77. Buffy Sainte-Marie
78. K.D. Lang (Hallelujah)
79. Alanis Morissette (another Ottawa girl!)
80. Shania Twain (Man! I Fell Like A Woman!)
81. Avril Lavigne (remember skater girl signing about Sk8tr Boi?)
82. Doris Anderson
83. Emily Car (Canadian Van Gogh)
84. Kenojuak Ashevak
85. Mary Ann Shadd Cary (although not Canadian, moving here provided her with a great opportunity to help others)
86. Angelina Napolitano (first woman to bring domestic abuse as a legal matter to light)
87. Thanadelthur  (the great Hudson's Bay Company helper)
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88. Caroline Rhea (aunt Hilda)
89. Joni Mitchell
90. Sarah McLachlan (In the Eyes of an Angel)
91. Nelly Furtado (I'm Like a Bird)
92. Diana Krall (The Look of Love)
93. Hayley Wickenheiser (amazing hockey girl!)
94. Chrstine Sinclair (WOW!)
95. Wayne Gretzky (well, I had to learn how to love him when I moved to Canada)
96. Terry Fox (what a young man!)
97. James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Try Lies, Titanic, Avatar and who knows what the future holds)
98. Ivan Reitman (Animal House, Meatballs, Goastbusters, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Space Jam; WOW!)
98. Jason Reitman (the son is well known as well: Juno, Up in the Air)
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99. Dan Aykroyd (no comments required)
100. Rick Moranis (one funny guy)
101. Ryan Reynolds (I am speechless....)
102. Ryan Gosling (our Justins and Ryans rock!)
103. William Shatner (I don't even know where to begin......)
104. Jim Carrey (there is no one like him!)
105. Michael J Fox (what a tremendous character!)
106. Mike Myers (okay, he might compare to Jim Carry)
107. Donald Sutherland (father)
108. Keifer Sutherland (son; could not think of a holy spirit)
109. Keanu Reeves (our Neo)
110. Mathew Perry (one friendly guy)
111. Will Arnett
112. Seth Rogen (I've yet to watch Sausage Party)
113. Hayden Christensen (young Darth Vader)
114. Jason Preistly (for those of you who were not around in '90s look up 90201, Brandon was an all around wonderful young man your parents would like)
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115. Michael Cera (another Juno member)
116. Corey Monteith (sad storey)
117. Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock (yes, his Dad is Canadian so it counts)
118. Joshua Jackson (where is he these days?)
119. Tom Green (Ottawa boy!)
120. Phil Hartman
121. David Foster (see if you can recognize some of these names: Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Dona Summer......)
122. Brian Adams (I received my first cassette of his music when I was leaving for permanent residence in Canada, it was a joke.... I think)
123. The Weeknd (had a dream about him last night, we were dating.... is there a message for me? Yes, I am a BIG fan)
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124. Drake (BIG fan)
125. Justin Bieber (one of famous Canadian Justins)
126. Neil Young (Hey Hey My My)
127. Michael Buble
128. Tragically Hip
129. Arcade Fire
130. Billy Talent
132. Rush
133. Nickelback
134. deadmau5
135. The Sheepdogs
136. Leonard Cohen (original Hallelujah)
137. Gordon Lightfoot
138. Paul Anka
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139. Jeff Healey (While My Guitar Gently Weeps, not his song but he does is so well)
140. Shawn Mendes
141. Stompin' Tom Connors (you did not think I'll forget this guy!!!)
142. Beaver
143. Moose
144. Bears
145. Canada Goose (yes, I know, their poop is not my favorite either)
146. Lynx
147. Wolverine (and no, not Huge Jackman type)
148. Beluga whale
149. Atlantic Puffin
149. Mukluks (I have a special relationship with these)
150. Proud of who we are and what we represent!!!!!!!

And here it is, my list. You might agree or disagree with some of the above but before you judge me, please remember this is my list.

A GREAT BIG thank you to WIKI! You are a great source for all I do!

Happy Canada Day my Canadian friends wherever you are in the world right now! And if you are not Canadian, know that you are always welcomed here. We will open our arms to you as long as you are not hear to threaten all of the things at the top of my list.

Go and celebrate, and while you at it,

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

You've Been Judged!

Hello my dear readers,

My oh my! Where dose the time go? Yesterday we celebrated a great turn for Mother Earth - Summer Solstice. Although the hot summer days are on their way, the days will start getting shorter. So, let your hair loose, shed off those layers and enjoy summer days just the way you like it! And don't let anyone judge you!
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Speaking of judging, as you might have noticed from the title of this post, our discussion will be about the judgements. It does not matter if it is you who is being judged by someone, or it is you who is being judgemental. We will have a look at both.

Where shall we start? Well, let's take a trip down memory lane and place yourself in the middle school. You are young, full of energy and wonder and starting to develop opinions about the world, people and yourself.

Few days from now, there is an opportunity to introduce yourself to the world in the best possible way (in your opinion of course) and you are very excited and putting a lot of time and effort to get ready. Can you guess what the opportunity is? Your first school dance of course! "Not to miss" social occasion that could set a path for your future life. Yes, that important of an event! You have been getting ready for months now: outfit, hair, friends and of course expectations of the event.
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The day is finally here! Your parents dropped you off at school where you reunited with your friends. You look beautiful, feeling fantastic and ready to have a good time. A little food, few cups of fruit punch (remember, you're in middle school), chats and laughs with your friends and of course lots of dancing. You are having a blast! Nothing can spoil the feeling!

And then something happens, you see a group of your peers looking at you and laughing. Of course, you get curious and now keep looking at this group to see if the stairs and laughs continue. They do. You starting to feel uncomfortable, you are not so sure in yourself anymore and suddenly you stop having fun. Why is this happening? The answer is - You've Been Judged!

Yes, the awful feeling of judgement. It does not make a difference how little or big. It is uncomfortable, it is hurtful and at times blood churning. It is tough to shake off and it can seep through into all of the areas of your life. All of sudden you start questioning everything you do and then spiral into depression because you think you don't fit and you are useless.

I am sure that this happened to you more than once. I am not talking about school dance specifically, I am referring to the feeling of being judged. You do not have to be young to feel badly about someone else's negative opinion of you or something that you do. We've all been there more than once. Not fun!
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And how about the other side - you being the "judge"? Do you recall how many times you made someone upset, disappointed or mad by your hurtful comments? I won't lie, I've been there and now feel badly. Did I think I was better than the person who was a victim of my words? Did I think my opinion was the right one (well, we know how I feel about this one)? Why did I do that? Why do we have a desire to push our negative energy onto people?

After the years of experience with people and simple observation of their behavior, I've come to conclusion that our need for judgement is brought by the lack of that something that we judge others for. Yes, I know, clear as mud!

So, let me explain. in the recent month I was judged. I found out about this from a colleague of mine. It was something rather silly, a pair of form fitting pants. I am still relatively new to the company I work with and some of the people do not know my name. And so, I was remembered as a "girl in tight pants". Hmmm...

What was my reaction? First I was rather confused, I could not quite understand why my pants that are part of the business suite I wore, got so much attention. Secondly, I could not understand why was I identified by my pants. Thirdly, I said to my colleague: "I am glad that my popularity is growing that even my pants get a notice!".

You see things like this do not bother me anymore. I am a very confident person, I know who I am and yes, I work very hard to stay in shape so I can wear form fitting clothes. It makes me feel good and I will not stop doing that.
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I suggested to my colleague that I feel sad for the person who made the comment and then found out that this person was not in the greatest shape and was simply jealous. I also found out that I was not the first victim. Simply sad!

The interesting outcome of this is that every time I go to the head office, I seriously consider my attire. I do! And it is not like me at all! I am strong, confident and I do not have time or space in my world for such people or their comments. I can happily meet with them and hear what they have to say and perhaps share with them my side of the story. Cowardly behaviour is not welcomed in my life.

So, why do I still think about this? Well, in my "past life" (before my spiritual awakening and full understanding of myself) I wanted everyone to like me and was willing to do anything for that to take place. So, perhaps that feeling is still somewhat present deep in my soul. Even with the understanding that it is practically impossible, it seem that "the little girl"  inside of me still wants to be liked. Work in progress!

But enough about me (did I just say that?). Let's get back to discussion about judgements. Yes, they are unpleasant and disrupt your life in a negative way. But they are a part of life. I would love to tell you that you will be okay, but it is not up to me. It is in your hands, it is your choice how you react to the situation or if you choose to be judgemental towards someone.

So next time someone passes judgment on you or you are about to judge someone, think about why this is happening and make a choice. Make a choice how you will react to someone's negative words about you or think about how your negative words might affect someone.
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The secret is to listen to your thoughts and pay attention to your feelings and emotions. It is easier said than done, But try it once and see how it feels. And then try it again. Next thing you know you are free of judgemental feelings and behaviour. And the world becomes a better place for everyone!

Yes, I am a strong believer that world will be a better place if there was less judgement. But this is a completely different discussion.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and it is always my hope that it helped you in some way. Remember, we are here to experience life and have a journey. It is your life and your journey and you are the only one who decides what's best for you. No judgement of others should determine this. And please try to stay away form judging others.

Enjoy your summer and don't forget to

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello my lovely readers!

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I am still trying to comprehend how is it the middle of May! What happened to February, March and April? Do you recall them? But I guess we do not have a say in this so let's just enjoy this lovely month and of course today.

As I am sure most of you know, today was Mother's Day in most countries of the world. It is the day when mothers are appreciated and recognized. A very special day for all the mothers! And I really truly hope so! But you did not think this is it for me, did you? Of course not! So here comes my elaboration. Are you ready?

If you are reading this post, you most likely have or had a mother (someone had to give a birth to you). And so, you most likely have been involved in celebration of Mother's Day at one time or another: macaroni necklace; crayon drawing of flowers with oddly shaped inscription "For Mom"; real flowers and chocolates bought by your Dad or grandparents to give to your Mom; and finally graduation for treating your Mom to a special brunch or dinner. Does that sound familiar? I am sure it does for most of you.

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Growing up in Russia, we did not have Mother's Day, women were celebrated on March 8th - International Women's Day. And yes, we did something very similar to above. But most importantly this was the day when mothers and grandmothers were celebrated.

But here is a question for you, doesn't it feel a little strange that there is only one day a year that we celebrate moms? Why can't we recognize and celebrate things that our Moms do or done for us on a daily basis? It's not that difficult and usually a simple "thank you", "I love you" or a hug can do wonders.

I am a mother and my son understands now that small things matter. And so I am blessed with "thank you'" and random hugs almost on a daily basis. It feels so wonderful! And I try to remind my mom that I love her very much. We do not see each other very often, Atlantic ocean you see. But we try to connect as often as possible. And so we are blessed with saying "I love you" to one another every time we speak on the phone. It might not be much but we greatly appreciate our sincerity and recognition!

So here is a thought, celebrate your Mom more often, little things work wonders. If you are mother yourself, there is nothing wrong with reminding your family about little things that matter. Yes, I am talking about "thank you", hugs, and of course the mother (pun is certainly intended) of them all - "I love you". We are deserving!

And yes, I recognize that some of you do not have relationship with their mothers. It is sad and I prefer not to discuss this today. Just know one thing, there is always someone in your life that loves and appreciates you.

Hope all of you had a wonderful day and here is to more little things in your life!

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Celebrate Yourself!

Hello my Dear Readers,

How is January treating you? Are you keeping up with your resolutions if you made any? Are there new beginnings for some of you (after all, 2017 is year 1 according to numerology)? How are you feeling overall at the end of the first month of the new year?
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Well, while you are thinking about all of the above, I will bring us to today's subject - celebration of self. I am sure you have done this few times before and have some idea what this post might be about. But as you can imagine, I would like to offer you my interpretation of the meaning.

For many people celebration coincide with a special event: birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, birth of a child, promotion, etc. Really, all of the above could be considered special events in our lives. And they most certainly deserve to be celebrated. So when you look at the life events mentioned, they represent beginning or successful conclusion of something.

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For majority of the population in the developed nations, these are the standards of "normal life" and somewhat naturally occurring events. Most of us are expected to complete our education, get married, have children and thus celebrate all of the mentioned. But what happens to people who do not belong to "the norm"? What happens to people who choose different approach to life? And what happens to people who reside outside of the developed nations? Are their lives sad because there are no significant events like above? Are their life events not worth celebrating?

Absolutely not! These people have the same right to celebrate! And even they might not have the "normal life" (you know my view about this topic), there is plenty to celebrate. So let's have a detailed look at the options for "alternative to norm" celebrations.

We shall start with following, if you are "normal" (and by the way, there is nothing wrong with that) I would like you to put yourself in a shoes of a person who does not have life according to our societal standards. Imagine that you are a 15-year-old girl in central African country, whose parents passed away and now you have to look after two younger siblings. Do you get the picture? Do you think this girl has many celebration worthy events in her life? I will say no. She has a tough life ahead and probably in a complete survival mode. So celebrating anything will not be first thing on her mind.

But we do not necessarily have to travel that far or be so dramatic, have a look in your "backyard"(watch some news. read a paper or be present in the community). There are plenty of people that unable to attend college or choose not to get married; there are people who work hard to provide for their family just to be stricken with a severe illness and no longer able to support the family; there are happy couples who cannot wait to start a family just to realize that they are unable to have children; there are plenty of young hopefuls anxiously waiting to make it big in athletic world only to be sideline with debilitating injury; there are those that have all the financial freedom but deal with severe depression; and then there are some that no matter how hard they try to get a better life, it just does not seem to work. Do these examples paint few close to home pictures for you?
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So what about all of these people, what do they have to celebrate? Oh, there is plenty! And one of the first things to celebrate is being you! Yes, celebrating yourself! Does this make sense to you so far?

Even if it does, let me offer you my opinion (as you know I am happy to share!). And it will be based on my life's experiences since this is what I know best. I had many happy times in my life: graduations, marriage, birth of my son, great jobs, many life accomplishments and lots of fun times. But of course I was also faced with numerous challenges in my life and not necessarily just mine. There was a divorce, depression (my son's, my son's father and mine), failed friendships and relationships, collapsed business partnership that create a huge havoc for me as a single Mom. And then came untimely death (there were four in our family in one year): my mother-in-law, my Dad, my son's father and my grandmother. All of the events seem to follow one another, it felt like a "series of unfortunate events".

There were times that I felt like everyone turned away from me; there were times that I did not know how I will be able to feed my son; there were many times that I had to give another "no" to my son's request (God bless his heart) for some toy that everyone else had; there were times that I simply could not get out of bed. Yes, I was there, I lived that. And at times I simply did not know if I can go on, I did not know how. And at times I felt like an absolute failure which is not like me at all!

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But I have conquered all, I have found the way. I realized that all of the disappointments and upsets were there to teach me something, this was a school of life. I am a strong believer in expression: "Necessity is the Mother of invention". This expression came very handy many times in my life and helped me to become stronger, more resilient and of course more creative. It helped me to decipher who belonged in my life and who was simply dragging me down (family is more complex of course). It helped me to understand myself better and know what were important things in my life. And most importantly, I've learned that we do not have to wait for big life changing events to celebrate! We need to celebrate every accomplishment no matter how little it might be.

In the last few years I got deeper in to a path of self-discovery and learned more things about myself. And I believe these are two most important things - self-love and gratitude. Many people (including me in the younger years) mistaken self-love with selfishness. Although dictionary definition do not see the difference between the two, self-love does not mean complete disregard for others. If you ever flew on a plane, during the safety instructions it clearly states to make sure that you put your oxygen mask on first and then help your child. Why? If you are not okay, your child will not be either. That applies to real life as well and I've experienced that first hand. When I was not okay, neither was my son. I quickly learned that self-love was the way to go. Getting there is a whole other story!
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So back to little celebrations. Think about your life at this point, are there things to celebrate? Having trouble finding any? Let me help you. Did you wake up this morning and was able to see, walk and breathe on your own? If so, celebrate! Did you have food to make breakfast? If so, celebrate! Did you keep the word of something that you promised your child or loved one? If yes, celebrate! Do you get my drift?

Now, of course I do not mean to have a full blown balloons, orchestra and cake celebration for every little things you do, but be happy with little things. Be glad that you are able to accomplish even the smallest task. There are a lot of people that unable to do even those simple task that we take for granted.

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And for those of you that do struggle with simple every day tasks, celebrate the fact that you are here and figuring out how to live your life despite the challenges; celebrate that you are a great example for those that might have just got into your position and is devastated and scared; celebrate you tenacity and will to live and function in the most "normal" to you way possible.

I try to celebrate as much as I can and some of my friends love this fact. Some do not quite understand it and that's okay. There are two very important events in a year that require proper celebration in my world - New Year and my birthday. You might ask why. These are the events that signify a start of another year, either calendar or personal. These events give me an opportunity to reflect, make adjustments and create more to celebrate. And as an Aries, I love new beginnings! They are exciting and full of promise for optimistic outcome!
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In conclusion, I would like to offer you another thought. Celebration is a positive energy that will bring more positive energy your way. So, if you are looking for more optimism and smiles in your life, celebrate and be grateful. We are all energy and we are all children of the great Universe. Start your day with gratitude of being alive and the rest will follow!

So go out there and find your own celebrations! Really think about it and you'll be amazed how many things there are to celebrate in your life, even if you are down on your luck. And while you're looking...

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What's the Name of the Game?

Hello, hello, hello!

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Man, this blog has experienced a long drought.... but this blog and I have learned to accept my ever changing life. All the punches, bumps, curves and surprises, as mean and tough as they might have been, are just a way to try to distract me from my goals and true desires. And guess what, I've played this game many times before and FOCUS is still the name of my game!

Yes, another year passed by and I am glad it's done, it has been a challenging one. It had tears, fears, battles, disappointments and ended with a death in my already very tiny family. But you know what, it sounds like any other year (with exception of the death of course) and probably just like another year in your life. And really when you look at it from this perspective - it was just another year in my life. That's all it was!

It was also filled with laughter, great adventures, new experiences,
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beautiful surprises, wins, celebrations and a lot of love. These are the things that make a great difference in my life and I choose to FOCUS on them. These are the things that make me happy and strong, they give me energy and let me believe that I am okay, they make my days much brighter and take me to higher highs. These are the things that really matter and they can trump (can't believe I just used this word, wonder how much it will cost me?) any negative experiences or feelings.

Of course I do not suggest you ignore the negative matters in your life, please respect them since they are your lessons, lessons that help you to enjoy your positive experiences even more. Look at them as your life assignments. Remember school? Well forget it now! It is okay to make mistakes while completing life assignments, it is recommended to make mistakes in life (well, recommended by me). Think, how
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else could you have learned that grabbing  a handle of a cast iron frying pan while it's on a hot stove will burn your hand? Did you make a mistake? Yes you did and you should be proud! Have you learned a lesson? Yes you did (or at least I hope you did)!

Now let's get back to my game. If you are trying to keep up with my posts (they are so rare after all), you know that there have been many obstacles which keep throwing me back and delaying my goal achievements. And it use to be very difficult for me to deal with them since I am a very competitive person and a sore looser (Remember board games cuz? Sorry!). But after I started my spiritual development journey, I realized that getting upset and frustrated just make matters worse. There is no need to FOCUS on events that have already taken place, especially if these are negative events, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome. However, you can FOCUS on the fact that you were given a great opportunity to learn something and move forward as more experienced individual. And just stay focused on your goal until you arrive to a desired outcome. It's just that simple!

And trust me - it works! Just the other day, I was working on a document, was very happy with the outcome, just to discover, as I was trying to send it to its destination, that it had not saved . Although I was making sure to save it while working, it was not there, hours of work were gone! At first I got
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mad at the computer (technology loves playing with me), then I was mad with myself and it did not make me feel very good. The negativity was creeping in. Although I respect it, I do not like its visits. So I quickly snapped out of it, contacted the person who was expecting the document, assured this person that the matter will be resolved withing a day and moved on with my day. I realized that The Universe must have had another plan for me. And guess what, the second version of the document was even better and the end result was great. I stayed focused on the goal - the end result. And did not pay much attention to matters that were trying to throw me of the course.

Staying on track and staying focused could be challenging, especially when there are plenty of contributors to the distractions in our lives: colleagues, kids, relationship issues, work challenges, health upsets, just to name a few. But if you are true to your goal and passionate about it, those contributors
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will not make a difference. All you have to do is to make little adjustments. This can be little adjustments to your goal or the deadline of your goal. Life happens and in some instances we have no control over it. But you have control over the way you react to these disruptions and if your goal is important to you, you will find the best way to FOCUS on it. Just remind yourself why you chose this particular goal. It was most likely to improve yourself or your life in some way. So, it will have a positive outcome! And there you go! Our train has arrived, who is getting off at "Positive Station"?

In conclusion, I would like to remind you not to get angry, not to fret, and especially not to throw in a towel. Just step back, breathe, re-group and jump right back in! Oh yeah, you are so ready to get back at it and make it even better!!!!!

So, go get 'em, stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize! I can see it, I can fell it, I can taste it! It is near and now it is here! Seriously, get going...... and while you're at it...

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!